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Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Egypt’s Bab El Azab revamp to get underway as sovereign fund inks agreement with SCA

Bab El Azab to be transformed into tourist area under agreement between sovereign fund, antiquities council: The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) has signed an agreement with the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) to kick off plans to develop the Bab El Azab landmark in Old Cairo into a tourist area in partnership with private investors, cabinet said yesterday. The agreement gives the SFE the greenlight to shop for private partners that would participate in the project either as investors or service providers, with the SCA retaining managerial control over the site. “The fund will team up with experienced private investors to develop the Bab Al-Azab site. We will equip the buildings in the area to offer visitors and tourists a rich cultural experience that accentuates the Citadel’s historic value,” SFE CEO Ayman Soliman said, according to a statement (pdf). Attracting private sector partners has been a key mandate of the SFE since it launched last year.

Samih Sawiris is among those likely to weigh in: The bn’aire told Hapi Journal before the covid-19 outbreak took hold in Egypt that he was planning to ink an agreement with the SFE by 4 February, but we haven’t heard of any developments since then. At the time, the project was said to involve building a museum with interactive technologies, craft schools, theaters, and other facilities near the historic site. Soliman suggested last year that Sawiris could invest as much as EGP 2 bn in developing the area, and there’s a chance other investors will join in, including Al Ismaelia For Real Estate Investment — which is already on board to handle execution. Reuters also has the story.

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